Letter to the minister for Culture, Media and Sport

Always go straight to the top if you want to get anything to happen!

Government and media commit crimes against humanity

As part of my campaign to expose the TV Licensing identity fraud scandal, I have drafted the following letter to the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport. It is better for me to share it as a draft before sending so my readers can tell me if I have missed anything important. My plan is to print and post it tomorrow.

The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
100 Parliament Street

Dear Ms Frazer,

I would like to draw your attention to evidence of a criminal identity fraud involving the BBC and Capita with respect to the TV Licensing trademark. While superficially obscure, it has the potential to unravel the entire fiscal underpinnings of the UK’s primary public broadcaster, and bring the regulatory system into disrepute.

The fraud is that the trading name “TV Licensing” is presented to the public as a legal person, when it is not. For instance, on the tvlicensing.co.uk website it says “© TV Licensing”, but a trademark cannot own a copyright. Given the sophistication of the institutions involved, this cannot be an accident. For your convenience, I have included a screenshot below that was taken today, so you can check this example for yourself.

TV licensing website

This conversion of a trademark into a chameleon-like legal person allows the BBC to receive the revenue assets, while the legal liabilities go to Capita. I am a victim of this fraud, having sued “TV Licensing”, only to have Capita usurp the case as an interloper with no standing. My personal case is not why I am writing to you, other than it has established the existence of the fraud — and at least one individual affected negatively.

What matters in your capacity as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is the wider risk that exposure of this scandal brings to the parties involved, including your own department’s reputation, as well as to Ofcom’s standing. As Lord Denning famously stated, “Fraud unravels everything.” The potential scope of “everything” is alarming large here in policy terms.

Consider for a moment that correspondence is being sent to the public under the brand “TV Licensing”, bearing no legal person on it whatsoever, and that who you interact with changes between the BBC and Capita at their whim. Further consider that the BBC asks cheques to be payable to “TV Licensing”, which is not a legal person, and direct debit mandates have no fixed legal person attached.

The consequence is that:

  • Every direct debit could be refunded and revoked, on the basis that there is no legal person “TV Licensing” and that the parties involved were committing identity fraud.
  • Every cheque to “TV Licensing” that is cashed is fraudulent instrument, as no legal person is being presented to the public.
  • Every single conviction for TV licence evasion is potentially unsound, since no legal person ever appeared on correspondence, and the prosecuting parties had unclean hands.

It is not my job as a member of the public to qualify these risks, but they clearly merit investigation. My opinion is that the only possible purpose of presenting a trademark as a legal person is to deceive. It is reasonable to presume that this has been approved of at the highest levels of the BBC and Capita. At some point a prosecution for license evasion will be challenged on this basis, and case law precedent set.

If the paperwork about this fraud from my case would assist your civil servants, then I am happy to pass it on to save effort. I believe that this effective liability shield that the BBC has constructed is against the public interest, not least because it rests on a deceptive commercial practise. I suggest that you write to the BBC’s Chairman to ask why they are acting this unlawful way.

Yours faithfully,

Martin Geddes

Oh what a tangled web we weave! I wonder if Capita a ruing the day they decided to apply to set aside my default judgement against “TV Licensing”? It doesn’t really matter how my court case goes, the facts of the fraud have now been established. Next up is to check who owns the bank account that cheques paid to “TV Licensing” get paid into. If it is Capita, then I would say that’s a flat-out commercial fraud.

It can be lawful for a subcontractor to be authorised to handle financial transactions, but not when there is no disclosure and the legal identity of who you are dealing with is being deliberately obfuscated. When “TV Licensing” is presented as a legal person, and it is not, a reasonable person would judge that they are paying the licensing authority that owns the brand.

A freedom of information request is going to the BBC today.